Thursday Three

Look at me…two weeks in a row of a Thursday Three. It’s almost like a trend or something.

1. Balance is key. We’ve practically been living in a season of survival the past few months. Only in the past week or two have we started to reintroduce exercising, playing music, and making space for individual creativity. So here I am, sitting in a coffee shop while writing my thoughts–totally baby-free. As a couple and as a family, we’re asking the question of how to find balance in our lives and somehow make it work for everybody. It requires some planning and some sacrifice, but it seems to be worth it in the end. If you have tips and systems that have worked well for you, I’d definitely be interested in hearing them.

2. My phone is overloaded with pictures of my kid. (So much for balance, eh?) I know I’m biased, but I think he’s pretty stinking cute. To be honest, I haven’t figured out what I think about sharing countless photos on the internet (of him or me, really). Maybe one here or there. Occasionally, I send some photos of him in a text to people I think might want to see the latest facial expression or outfit he’s rocking. Like everything, I’m overthinking it and questioning how much I want him to be all over the internet. I don’t know that there’s a right or wrong answer, but I do think it’s worth considering what we are putting online and what the long-term impact might be. Ugh. The world is crazy and the future of the internet is a mystery to me. I know I can’t protect him from everything, but I do have some responsibility as a parent to look out for him and his well-being. So, please humor me while I think it over and know that the photos might be sparse in the meantime. (But what the heck? I can’t add a photo from my week without including him because he’s in ALL the photos…so here you go, a week’s worth all at once).

baby pics

3. We need each other. I’ve heard and read so many thoughts and feelings this past week regarding the election and the actions that have followed. Frankly, it’s hard to sort through it all. Last week, all I could say was that kindness was the first place I planned to start. I think the thing I’ve found to be true in it all is how much we need to support and love one another as a community, a city, a state, and a country. There’s so much that has already been said on the internet, and I don’t want to pretend I have something big or profound to add. I just think that at the bottom of it all, we each want love and support. We want someone to say, “I’m for you and I’m with you.” I think that means seeing a need amongst the people around you and filling it. It can mean showing up, even without being asked. It means prayer, money, food, time, and energy given to someone else or for someone else. As much as living in isolation or only surrounded by those who think and feel the exact same as we do sounds nice (and can have its place from time to time), the strength and mutual respect/understanding that can be gained by recognizing that we need each other is invaluable.

Making it “Official”

Making it “Official”

In case you didn’t notice, we live in the times of the internet. We have a lot of information right at our fingertips and hardly even know what a day without instant access to all our social media sources is like.

News comes from posts and photos as people share the prominent or pretty parts of their lives with the rest of the “network”…because that’s just what we do. To avoid posting something requires almost a special request or reason to not include it online. Just like that, so much of our lives are shared and revealed to the masses.

I write and say random tidbits about my days, so I’m hardly any different. But I also try to think long and hard about what it is I’m saying and why. Do I share because I feel compelled to do so? Or because it would be useful to know? Or because I just had a really great hair day? So many thoughts and decisions on what’s best, especially in the past few months, have caused me to step back and withdraw from social media and even blogging for a bit. The problem is, eventually people think you’re hiding. And then you question what it is you’re hiding from and why? If you don’t share it online, are you embarrassed or overly secretive or just overthinking it?

This. This has been my constant cycle of thoughts recently as, quite frankly, we’ve found ourselves with some BIG news. News that can’t be summed up in one description or emoji. Unlike what our social media networks and text-based conversations would suggest, we can’t relate on the same level with people as we can face-to-face or in a one-on-one conversation. Simply giving something a heart or a star or a thumbs up doesn’t sit well with me anymore. I want to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn. Blasting a bit of news doesn’t allow me to do those things quite the way I’d like to.

But social media forces us share in abrupt snippets. Even if we don’t, eventually someone will leak the info online or a photo will surface, and we can’t “hide” from the news–be it good or bad. Let’s be honest, I don’t think most news is quite so simple as only good or bad. Sometimes there’s excitement and panic and confusion and pain and joy and whatever you had for lunch today mixed in all at once.

Our big news? We’re expecting. We’ve actually been expecting for several months now. Expecting to have a baby and become parents and find out just how much that completely changes our lives.

But you? I don’t know what’s going on with you or how you feel about that. Maybe you’re thrilled. Maybe that news hurts to hear. Maybe you wish it was you. Maybe you’re glad it’s not. Maybe you’re wondering why the heck it took so long for me to say something. Maybe you really don’t care. Whatever it is, I don’t get to experience what you’re experiencing on the other side of the screen here. Perhaps that’s for the best, but I feel I’d be remiss to ignore that my news causes something for you, too. To be honest, it causes more than one simple emotion for me as well.

We don’t know what we’re doing or where life will take us from here, but we’re expectant. Expecting that we’ll somehow figure it out together and also lean on trusted people around us. Expecting to be challenged in new ways and to learn a few things the hard way, no matter how much we try to best prepare. Expecting to walk alongside friends who are in the same stage of life as well as with those who aren’t. Expecting to make sacrifices and expecting to find new sources of joy and inspiration.

S+S on the steps-4952

 

 

 

In This Season

In This Season

The past several weeks and months have been just a bit too much. Too much good, too much bad, too much work, and too much to think about all at once. In all of that I’ve tried to be present where I am, doing what most seems to need my time and attention.

I’ve read books and listened to podcasts about how to balance “doing it all” and at the end of the day, I think these people want to tell you the answers, but don’t actually have it figured out. As soon as you seem to strike a balance, something in life changes so your schedule and coping mechanisms all need to readjust to fit everything in once more.

I subscribe more to the notion of seasons. There’s a season for hustle and a season for rest. A season for uncertainty and a season for stability. A season for laughter and a season for tears. The length and order of these seasons may change or go against your plans, but I just don’t believe you can do it all all the time. Unfortunately, in this past season or two, blogging just didn’t take priority. While I’ve missed writing here, I don’t regret that decision.

My writing has taken on other forms lately. My days are actually filled with it, be it at the North State Journal where I work as a writer and copy editor or with my various freelance clients who I continue to work with each week. My life has certainly not been void of writing in my absence from this blog.

I have continued to wrestle with what this blog should say and how to say it. There has been a significant amount of transition and change in our lives in the past year and as a result, I’ve wanted to keep most of these thoughts and feelings private from the likes of social media and an unknown audience. Yet, I want to continue to be here, to write in a way that inspires or relates.

So here’s my wave hello saying that I’m still here and will continue to come back. I’ll bring more of an update in time and continue to write so I can share it with you.

 

The Game of Life

Game of Life

After a week of being sick followed by a three-day snow and ice storm, you can only watch so much Netflix and eat so many bowls of cereal and destroy so many tissues. So when the power goes out, you resort to all out ridiculousness and begin playing board games by candle light on a Friday night. We’re talking Sequence, Bananagrams, and good ole Life (the game, not the cereal as that had already been completely consumed earlier in the week).

We don’t consider ourselves “game” people. Music people, creative people, documentary people, active people–we’ll take any of those, but when someone excitedly invites us to game night, we often shrug our shoulders and wonder, “why us?” Don’t get offended, we’ll come to your game night, just don’t ever consider us regular attenders.

Anyway, the point is, we had maybe played Life once in our entire time of owning said board game, as evidenced by the lack of people pegs plucked from the plastic casing. I loved playing the game as a kid and dreaming what my life as an adult could be like. This particular version had a few new spaces and some modified rules, so I kept checking to read the rules to find out what different things meant. Half of the time spent was in set-up alone, so after the two of us played through rather quickly, we decided to play once more (and I might have needed a redemption round).

Here’s the thing, the game is rigged. You get so little control of what happens or doesn’t happen and very few choices throughout. Sometimes real life can feel like that I suppose, so for the sake of the game, I’ll let that slide (although I don’t think I’ll ever be a veterinarian turned entertainer turned hair stylist and later a Nobel Peace prize winner on accident).

My issue though was not that I lost (twice), but what determined the win. The whole game is just a big exchange of money. Maybe you pick up a few people pegs in your brightly colored car along the way, but each “life” event was represented in dollar signs. The best career to pick, the house to choose, the route you took–it was all solely motivated by ending up with the most pastel colored cash at the end.

Maybe you think I’m going too deep here, but indulge me for a minute–is that what life is? A long and winding path that declares winners and losers based on how much money you banked by the end? Are we so motivated and persuaded by the financial cost and benefit of things, that we give no other weight or meaning to what it is we are doing with our days?

I’m not so naive to think that money doesn’t matter. This last year was tough financially (to be all too honest) and obviously what we make does impact our every day life and has to be considered for our future. I’m not talking a pile of wealth to gloat about but more like, hey, we use money to pay the rent and put food on the table. So, yes, we need money, and it certainly comes in to play with many of our decisions since we don’t have the luxury of ignoring it.

But is it possible that society goes from basic necessities to a “success” measurement based merely on how high your money pile is? What about art? And creativity? Passion? People? 

Is our impact and our worth instead better defined by the dollar amount we acquired at the end of the year?

I’m not opposed to getting or giving raises, far from it. Rent goes up every year, cost of living increases, needs change. Raises can show progress and reward work well done. Yes, let’s get raises. Also, it should be noted that passion projects have their own points of failure. Investing all of our time and energy in to something that has no return on our investment is, at times, maybe even negligent. Sure, you can have projects and pursuits that lead to little or no monetary gain, but there also has to be some balance and overall understanding of needs and responsibilities.

Okay, so we’ve established that I believe we should be paid and decently at that. But is there more? I think so. I don’t want the end to look like a pile of money, however big or small, declaring whether or not I won. I want it to look like a life that mattered, that I did something valuable with my time. 

So, what value are we/you putting on money? Is it truly a living wage that allows you to live your life in a way that is also generous and creative? Or is it more so a measurement of your own personal value and a metric to constantly improve? Are those mutually exclusive?

The bottom line is perhaps, are we are asking the right questions, spending our money (and time and resources) the right way, and placing our value where it belongs?

This Week’s Three

What a week it has been. Anybody with me? Nothing too crazy, but it takes thought and intention to keep from covering yourself in blankets on the couch all day. Oh, winter.

1. Hug a kid. I should probably preface this by saying it’d be good to actually know this kid and maybe even have permission from their parents if necessary. But past that, I highly recommend it. They are usually all for it and this time of year the puffy coats that make them like little walking teddy bears are simply adorable. Is there a point to this hug? Just to show a little love and remind you where the world is headed–the future is definitely not all bad.

Kid Hug | Moving Peaces

2. Take a walk. I know, it’s cold outside. Even here in North Carolina we’re having to take our coats out finally and wear a few layers. I’m not really a fan of winter, but I am a big fan of walking. When it’s decent outside, you’ll find me roaming the many trails nearby or the sidewalks downtown. When it is cold, watch out–I’m power walking through the mall. Sounds silly, but I can’t keep cooped up all winter long and the mall doesn’t require any sort of membership or serious preparation to show up. Plus, my favorite part about walking is going with a friend and talking while we walk, instead of going somewhere to sit still and pay for food or coffee.

3. Appreciate what you see on a daily basis. We can go through so much of our day seeing the same thing all of the time and ignore it. Last night, on a walk, the hubby wanted a quick picture of me with Krispy Kreme (but failed to follow it up by buying a donut). Very random, but the point was not our undying love for fresh & hot donuts, but a corner of our neighborhood we so regularly walk by, in a town we moved to three and a half years ago, where we have grown so much.

Krispy | Moving Peaces

Thursday Three

Thursday Three

Here’s my round-up of three things on Thursdays. Two weeks ago was a holiday, so I made sure to take time off from everything but food, football, family, and giving thanks (I tried so hard with the alliteration but alas). Last week simply got away from me, so this will just have to be three things to cover three weeks.

1. Productivity should not be your only measurement. I can get caught up in looking at my hours worked, my projects billed, and my to-do list items checked. While not everything can be considered productive, not everything you do should be. It may take some reminding, some discipline, and some grace, but we’ve done everything we can lately to take in moments of un-productive time for recreation, friendship, and music.

Bouldering | Moving PeacesRock Climbing | Moving PeacesCatchphrase | Moving Peaces

2. We’re thankful for so many things. Remember Thanksgiving two weeks ago? It’s crazy how quickly our society can go from a day of thanks to writing lists of stuff we want under the tree. But I’d rather hover over in being thankful. We have a good marriage, a welcoming home, some amazing friends, and a strong hope as we face different challenges that life is bound to bring. Everything might not be peachy, but I am still so grateful for these things.

Niece | Moving Peaces

3. Christmas will be little this year. Is that a foreshadowing into this year’s card/song? Or is it just the statement that everything is going to be pulled back/reined in/minimized? Maybe both. Christmas is something to look forward to and can bring many wonderful things, but sometimes it can get away from us. This will be a season of scaling back and removing as many pressures/expectations/obligations as possible to find peace and rest instead. We felt it only fitting to get the smallest tree in the lot to reflect said philosophy.

Branch on Top | Moving Peaces

Tiny Tree | Moving Peaces

No Story to Tell

Typewriter photo Florian Klauer | Moving Peaces

Writers love to have experiences so they have something to write about. Give them a challenge or a thought that they can work through and give words to. It is another story to tell, a light to shed, and a trial to overcome.

But in the thick of it, the story is awfully uncertain. The ending is unclear and the resolution is weak. Words feel empty and forced, while the problem remains unsolved.

We all want the answer, the direction, the purpose in a story. Even in the artsy movies that all of a sudden fade to black, we look for the meaning and the motivation for each character. Whether an act of physical strength or some sort of epiphany, we want an achievement to be made.

Most storytellers try to wait until the story is long done before they relay it to anyone else. But blogs, they make that pretty hard on writers. I’ve spent months being vague or avoiding certain topics on my blog. Weekly recaps provide a few photos and give the appearance of a life well-lived. But there’s more to it than that.

The story over here feels more like ten stories, all with uncertain endings. Sure, I want to bring transparency to my writing and hate the idea of giving some false perception of perfection. I just wish I knew more of how this season of life resolves (and if it ever will).  Before sharing all of the details, I want the benefit of time and distance to process it and allow the wisdom and lessons learned to (hopefully) set in.

So, forgive me because I don’t have juicy details or riveting and epic adventures to share. Instead, I have my basic needs met, a hopeful outlook, an unclear future, and a metaphorical rain cloud over my head. That might just be enough for now.